A strange discussion is taking place at the moment. An anonymous gentleman punch a very public nazi, and the altercation was captured on tape. The video subsequently went viral, and a great many opponents of nazism celebrated the event. Moreover, they encouraged people to do more of it. To, in no uncertain terms, punch more nazis.
Make no mistake. Punching nazis is good. Do more of it.
This part is not strange. Up to this point, things are rather straightforward. Punch, video, viral. This needs no explanation. However, it needs to be mentioned in order to cement your understanding of the strange part.
The strange part is that there seems to be a not insubstantial number of individuals who disagree with the sentiment that punching nazis is a public good that should be encouraged. Who, upon encountering statements in support of further punching, instantly and with vigor, object that violence is not an acceptable response to the situation. Following from this, they object that it is equally not acceptable to encourage enthusiastic punching of additional nazis that happen to be within reach.
Why this sudden urge to defend the nazis? What gives?
The short answer is that decent people oppose violence, and thus do not want to encourage it. Punching a nazi is an act of violence, and thus they do not want to encourage such actions. It is a simple principle, and they act on it. It is, in short, the decent thing to do.
Thing is. The very existence of organized nazis who act in public is an act of violence in and of itself. Nazism as an ideology has a very clearly defined goal, and that goal is to make the lives of inferior races a living hell up until the point where state policies can be enacted to systematically eradicate these races. This is the explicit goal, and every ounce of influence accumulated by those who follow this ideology will be used to further this goal. The inferior races are to be purged, to create living space for the master race. Compromise is not an option.
This is what they want. This is what they say they want. This is why they put pictures of literally Hitler on their propaganda material. This is not in any way a hidden secret.
Allowing nazis to go about their business undisturbed has the unintended consequence of allowing them to go about their business. They can hold meetings, distribute propaganda material and recruit more followers. They can go through all the steps required to get from here to their goal, undisturbed. Left to their own devices, they can get shit done.
It might be argued that it would be more prudent to try to reason with them. That words are better than fists. That reasoned debate still has a role to play in this.
My counterargument is that history happened, and we recorded it. It is very possible to find out what the nazis did. The cultural production of whole generations went into hammering in the importance of never allowing what they did happen again. Books, movies, monuments, essays, plays, songs, poems - those who want to know have it within their reach to find out. There is no excuse for not knowing.
Those who, in spite of this, come across the nazi point of view and think it agreeable, have already discarded the lessons of history. They know what they are doing, but they are doing it anyway. Telling them what they already know will not change their minds.
Punching them, however, has the effect of stopping what they are doing. It's hard to organize the second Holocaust when being punched.
And that is the point.